Pro­fes­sion­als group could re­duce skills short­age

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - KOREN ALLPRESS

A newly formed group for young pro­fes­sion­als could po­ten­tially help ad­dress South Can­ter­bury’s on­go­ing skills short­age, one of its or­gan­is­ers says.

Many busi­nesses within South Can­ter­bury have in re­cent years cited the skills short­age - a lack of peo­ple avail­able to take up roles within var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions, as pro­hibit­ing them from ex­pand­ing.

The idea for a group for young pro­fes­sion­als was sparked by busi­nesses which were mem­bers of the Pro­fes­sion­als Busi­ness Con­nec­tion Group, es­tab­lished by Ao­raki De­vel­op­ment.

Th­ese busi­nesses iden­ti­fied re­tain­ing young pro­fes­sion­als as a key is­sue for them and be­lieved help­ing the young pro­fes­sion­als get es­tab­lished with so­cial con- nec­tions was crit­i­cal to get­ting them to stay longer in the dis­trict.

The new group, South Can­ter­bury Young Pro­fes­sion­als, held its launch event at the Land­ing Ser­vices Build­ing on Fri­day night.

Tim­pany Wal­ton lawyer and one of the event’s or­gan­is­ers, Tom Na­tion, said the event went well, with about 180 peo­ple at­tend­ing.

Na­tion be­lieved the group might help keep peo­ple in South Can­ter­bury a lit­tle bit longer than they might have done, even if that was only for a year or two, by pro­vid­ing them with so­cial con­nec­tions.

‘‘Have some good mates and some good times,’’ he said. This could also re­duce the amount of time em­ploy­ers would have to spend on re-train­ing new peo­ple.

‘‘I guess it’s one of the rea­sons why em­ploy­ers are keen to get be­hind it,’’ he said. ‘‘To help peo­ple that are new to the dis­trict, to help them meet peo­ple and make con­nec­tions.’’

There were groups for young pro­fes­sion­als in other parts of New Zealand which worked quite well, and a few peo­ple had tried to get some­thing go­ing in South Can­ter­bury in re­cent years, he said.

Na­tion said he and four oth­ers - An­gus Dyer, Gemma Tom­sett, Ross Fentz and Ka­t­rina Ly­nam, were shoul­der tapped by their em­ploy­ers and asked to put the event to­gether.

The group had es­tab­lished a Face­book page, South Can­ter­bury Young Pro­fes­sion­als, which any­one that was in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about the group could have a look at.

The group was look­ing at hold­ing an­other event in Oc­to­ber in con­junc­tion with Ara In­sti­tute of Can­ter­bury, and an­other event in Novem­ber.

Dyer said there was a huge va­ri­ety of busi­nesses rep­re­sented among the at­ten­dees, in­clud­ing teach­ers, lawyers, ac­coun­tants, Fon­terra staff and hospi­tal staff.

PHOTO: DOUG FIELD/STUFF

Some of the young pro­fes­sion­als at Fri­day night’s event are, from left, An­gus Dyer, Tom Na­tion and Bradley Mon­a­han.

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